Necropolis update – Lisa Hirschfield

This week I spent a great deal of time obsessively working on the website I set up for our project, https://necropolis.commons.gc.cuny.edu/. Of course, it still has a way to go – such as an empty project description page – but the first post is up and I’m encouraging everyone to post about things they find and their activities as they relate to the project – a slightly more formalized version of what we do for this site,  geared specifically toward the public. To that end, Taylor set up a Twitter account for Necropolis, @BNecropolis, to boost publicity.

Every time I describe this project I see more clearly how, while we may not create new tools from scratch, we will be configuring existing tools in new ways that have great potential. I am continually surprised by how many historic cemetery websites have clunky, 1990s-era technology driving their public interface. Or, they have beautiful, fancy platforms that clearly cost a bundle, but are nevertheless limited in what information they can visualize. We want Necropolis not only to function as a set of physical maps, but also as a set of conceptual maps.  We want it to be relevant not only to visitors, but also to scholars and students in remote locations.  If, eventually, we can take whatever configuration of software we develop and bundle it into a single, elegant installation for organizations to make use of for their own historic site projects, then my purpose on this planet will be fulfilled. It may not happen this semester, though.